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All the Little Things

In the world of events, I often have the opportunity to onboard new talent (sometimes a little too often it seems). Recently, a new hire asked me about my event “pet peeves” — the things that drive me bananas at an event. Unsurprisingly, I’ve developed a few over 20+ years. And in the interest of transparency in establishing expectations with your team, I encourage anyone who manages others to share your own list up front.  But in that moment, I had a different thought: How fun would it be to share our event “pet pleasures” — the little things that make us break out into a happy dance? After all, couldn’t everyone use a healthy dose of joy these days? So, in no particular order (but kinda, because NO order is just chaos), I present my five faves: 

  1. An event that Runs. On. Schedule. Everyone shows up on time, the caterer is on point, people actually sit down when asked (what is it about that move from pre-function to function anyway?). Many hours go into planning the perfect timetable for your show. Bask in the glory when the clock on the wall lines up with the schedule on your clipboard. 

  2. Zero no shows + zero walk ups = zero scramble! This is the rare spotted-flying-unicorn of events. But your unicorn dreams can sometimes come true! Just be sure to enjoy the relaxed look on your team’s faces when it happens. And your own. #LetMeTakeASelfie 

  3. Anything mini. Mini desserts. Mini appetizers. Miniature horses. Even these mini cocktails: Mini = portable, easy to hold, and easy to consume while working the room. Mini makes things better! (Except on tables. What is that? A miniskirt?! Why would they make a linen that doesn’t reach the floor?)

  4. That “a-ha” moment. Maybe it’s the student speaker. Maybe it’s the impact video. Maybe it’s the president’s remarks (it happens — I’m lucky to work with one of the best). When events go well, there’s a moment that it all comes together perfectly and purpose is omnipresent. The guests feel it, you feel it — the energy is palpable, and in that moment, we all know why we’re here.

  5. A thank you note. I built a career through the hospitality industry, so I know better than to pin my hopes on a parade of post-event kudos. Yet … every now and then … I am still delightfully surprised to find a handwritten note in my mail, usually from a donor, expressing their gratitude for an experience that strengthened their connection with our organization. In moments like this, I’m reminded that the late nights and hand wringing and cat herding that ultimately deliver us to an event day truly matters — that our work makes a difference.  

What about you? What aspects of an event will inspire your happy dance? Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a conversation about the little things that drive us crazy. Let’s start a conversation instead about the little (and big!) things that bring us joy!  With purpose, 


I hope you enjoyed this guest post by DRG Group member, Matthew Helmer (@ExperienceGuru).


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